How to offer franchise customers a great customer service
It doesn’t matter what type of business you run, customer service is of the utmost importance. The franchise model is no exception, and many franchises can attribute their downfall to poor customer service. Consequently, it’s incredibly important that you look at ways to improve your interactions with customers, measure the success of your customer service system, and try to ensure that your brand is associated with high standards of customer care. Here, we take a look at a few different ways in which you can improve the customer experience.
Focus on customer satisfaction
In the world of customer service, there’s an incredible number of targets you can prioritise and metrics you can employ, as a means of measuring success. Some businesses focus on reducing call waiting times, while others measure how long it takes from the first point of contact to the moment of resolution. The majority of metrics are helpful in one way or another, but the most important is typically customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction gives a more rounded assessment of your customer service provision and indicates how the customer felt when they completed their previous interaction with your business.
Whereas other metrics can provide greater insight into specific aspects of your customer provision, customer satisfaction looks at the experience as a whole. For instance, a customer could approach you with a particularly knotty problem that takes a considerable amount of time to resolve. In such a context, measuring the amount of time it takes to address the issue may not give you an accurate indication of how the customer feels about your customer service.
Rather than being frustrated with how long it took to find a solution, they may be impressed with the dedication and focus of your customer service agents. Measuring customer satisfaction would reveal that they were content with the way you handled the issue, whereas other metrics might suggest that your customer service wasn’t up to the high standards you expect of your agents. For this reason, prioritising and measuring customer satisfaction is the first step towards implementing a successful customer service system.
Associate customer satisfaction with your brand
Customer satisfaction is key to your franchise's success. Many businesses provide excellent customer service and don’t reap the rewards of repeat custom. In many cases, this is because they aren’t linking the customer service experience to their brand image. Clients can purchase your products or services and enjoy fantastic customer service but unless they make a connection – or the connection is made for them – between your brand and excellent customer service, it won’t have too much of an impact.
The most successful franchise brands are those that ensure their name is synonymous with high-quality customer service. They make a conscious effort to link their brand image to excellent customer service and to ensure that their customers are also establishing this link in their minds. If businesses don’t attempt to do this, they may provide the perfect customer service, but it won't generate long-term benefits because it’s not contributing to the overall manner in which customers perceive and conceive of the business.
Let customers drive improvements
As a franchisee, you have ultimate responsibility for improving your customer service. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to do it alone. It’s often necessary to take a step back and get a different perspective on things to identify and resolve problems with your service. One way of doing this is by allowing customers to drive improvements via the use of feedback. As the owner of the business, sometimes your vision will be obscured by justifiable pride in your achievements and a natural inclination to defend your ideas and employees. This isn't always a healthy attitude.
Getting customer feedback gives you the opportunity to hear the other side of the story. What you do hear will not always be useful, truthful, or relevant, but in many cases, you’ll receive helpful information that can be actioned to improve services. Though we all recognise that the adage, ‘the customer is always right,' has a ring of truth to it, most businesspeople also understand that the customer is not always right. Sometimes, they're wrong. However, if you receive feedback and encounter repeat complaints about a certain issue, there’s a good chance you’ll need to make changes.
Don’t forget about existing customers
In the perpetual pursuit of new customers, it’s incredibly easy to forget about existing customers. This is a big mistake. Ensuring customer loyalty is essential to successful business operations. There are only a finite number of new customers, and even the most popular franchises will have to maintain a strong client base if they’re to guarantee long-term success. This is because the vast majority of business is made up of repeat custom. While attracting new customers is essential, there also needs to be a strong focus on pleasing those clients that have previous interactions with your franchise.
One of the fundamental ways to improve the overall customer service experience is to ensure that you have procedures in place to help maintain and sustain relationships with existing customers. This may mean introducing a loyalty card scheme, sending out regular communications via email or social media, or developing follow up procedures that allow you to gather feedback and gauge customers' satisfaction levels.
Delivering excellent customer service time and time again depends on implementing a system that responds to customer feedback. To do this, it's necessary to look at different ways of measuring its performance. In this regard, customer satisfaction is a crucial metric. It's also essential to ensure that you're looking after existing customers, as well as new clients and that you're actively looking for ways to associate your branding with excellent customer care. After all, excellent customer service doesn’t mean much if customers don’t connect it to the franchise.
An astounding 60-80% of customers who report themselves satisfied with a business’ customer service don’t return to use that company’s products or services again. This is because they lack a connection with the overall brand and, despite the high quality of customer care, don’t associate the service with the brand. Make sure you’re benefitting from your excellent service provision and link your brand and the great customer experience explicit.
The Editorial Team, Point Franchise ©
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